Special Teams Not So Special in Loss to Boise State

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Boise State (5) ....... 17  3  6 7 - 33
Virginia Tech (6) .....  0 14 13 3 - 30

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
12:44 BSU - Brotzman 44 yd FG
09:48 BSU - Pettis 8 yd pass from Moore (Brotzman kick)
01:11 BSU - Gallarda 2 yd pass from Moore (Brotzman)

2nd Quarter
11:44 VT - Williams 1 yd run (Hazley kick)
10:23 BSU - Brotzman 47 yd FG
00:57 VT - Williams 12 yd pass from Taylor (Hazley)

3rd Quarter
06:34 VT - Williams 1 yd run (Hazley)
05:38 BSU - Harper 71 yd run (kick blocked)
02:40 VT - Boykin 28 yd pass from Taylor (2-pt. failed)

4th Quarter
07:38 VT - Hazley 34 yd FG
01:09 BSU - Pettis 13 yd pass from Moore (Brotzman)


Landover, MD – Virginia Tech staged a great comeback after going down 17-0, but poor special teams play in the first half was enough to overcome a terrific performance from Tyrod Taylor, and the Hokies fell to Boise State 33-30 in a great football game on Monday night.

Tech’s senior quarterback went 15-of-22 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and he also rushed for 73 yards. Time and time again Taylor overcame the Boise State defense to make big plays downfield, either with his arm or with his legs. However, it wasn’t enough to offset the big advantage Boise State got in the first quarter thanks to Virginia Tech special teams errors.

In the first quarter, David Wilson returned a kick that was 6 yards deep in the endzone to the Tech 15 yard line. Two plays later, the Hokies fumbled, and that set up Boise State’s first field goal. On Tech’s next offensive possession they were forced to punt, and two Hokie blockers failed to account for one Boise State edge rusher. The punt by Brian Saunders was blocked, and Boise State converted it into a touchdown.

There was also a kickoff out of bounds that gave Boise State a shorter field, not to mention a running into the punter penalty by D.J. Coles that gave the Broncos a first down. On that same play, Coles was also penalized for a personal foul, which gave Boise State even more extra yardage. To top it off, Chris Hazley missed a 34 yard field goal in the second quarter. It’s tough to win football games against a team like Boise State with that many special teams mistakes.

Frank Beamer had this to say about special teams following the game:

“The blocked kick, you could have blocked that kick,” Beamer said (talking to a reporter). “It was a new guy communicating with a new guy. We turned their best punt blocker [Austin Pettis] loose. We’ve got to get that corrected.”

Overall, the blocked punt led to one Boise State touchdown, and the roughing the kicker penalty on D.J. Coles led to another. Throwing in the missed chip shot by Hazley and the out of bounds kickoff by Justin Myer, special teams directly cost Tech 20 points in this football game.

Virginia Tech gained just 314 yard of total offense, most of which came off the improvisation of Tyrod Taylor. Ryan Williams was held to just 44 yards on 21 carries, and the Tech running game totaled only 128 yards, 73 of which came from Tyrod Taylor scrambles.

The Tech defense allowed 386 yards of total offense in this game. They allowed too many big plays, but they did keep the Hokies in the game early when special teams was allowing the Broncos to get great field position.

Despite falling down 17-0 in the first quarter, Tyrod Taylor led the Hokies back. The game was 20-14 at halftime, and the Hokies took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter. D.J. Harper broke off a 71 yard touchdown run for Boise State to put the Broncos back up in the third, but the Hokies blocked the extra point and trailed just 26-21.

At that point, Tyrod Taylor led the Hokies on another touchdown drive, and after a later field goal Tech led 30-26. However, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore led the Broncos on a touchdown drive that culminated in a 13 yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 left. The drive was aided by a very questionable late hit call on Bruce Taylor, which was shades of Josh Hyman’s very questionable offensive pass interference call against USC in 2004 in the same stadium.

The Hokies had one more chance to move the football to tie or win the game, but failed to pick up a first down. Boise State’s offense took the field and ran off the clock, sending Virginia Tech to an 0-1 start for the third consecutive season.

Recap

The opening kickoff set the tone for an awful special teams evening. David Wilson made a poor decision, returning the opening kickoff that was booted about six yards deep into the endzone. Wilson was stopped at the 16 on the return.

The Tech offense got off to an interesting start, going with a flea flicker on the first play from scrimmage. The pass was intended for Jarrett Boykin down the left sideline, but it was slightly underthrown. As Boykin adjusted to the ball, he was bumped by a Boise State defender and pass interference was called.

That was a great start for the Tech offense, but the next play didn’t work out as well. Beau Warren and Tyrod Taylor didn’t complete the center-quarterback exchange on the next snap, and the fumble bounced around the line of scrimmage until it was picked up by Boise State defensive tackle Billy Winn. Just like that, the Broncos had a first down on Tech’s 31.

Tech’s defense held firm, slamming the Broncos for a four yard loss on their first play from scrimmage. Boise State failed to pick up a first down on their first drive, and had to settle for a Kyle Brotzman field goal from 44 yards. Despite the Tech defense not allowing a first down, it was already 3-0 Boise State.

Things would get worse before they got better. The Tech offense was manhandled up front on on the next drive. Ryan Williams was nailed for a five yard loss by Billy Winn on the first play, and Tyrod Taylor was sacked by Winn and defensive end Shea McClellin on the next play.

The Hokies were forced to punt, and there was a communication mistake between Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Martin Scales on the punt protection team. They were matched up with two Boise State players on the right side of the punt formation. At the snap, both Gouveia-Winslow and Scales moved inside to block the inside rusher, leaving Austin Pettis free off the edge to block the punt. Boise State’s offense took over at the Tech 12.

Two plays later, quarterback Kellen Moore found Pettis in the back of the endzone for a touchdown pass. Boise State led 10-0 with 9:48 left in the first quarter.

The Tech offense was whipped again up front on their next drive, and sent the ball back over to Boise State. The Tech defense held BSU on their next drive, but D.J. Coles was flagged for running into the punter. Coles was stumbling past punter Kyle Brotzman after going for the block, and then appeared to grab Brotzman in order to hold himself up. Instead, Brotzman went down and the pentalty was called, giving Boise State a first down.

To top it off, Coles was called for a late hit at the end of the play while blocking for punt returner Jayron Hosley. That gave the Bronco offense new life at the Tech 32.

They took advantage, and the drive culminated with a beautiful pass in the corner of the endzone by Kellen Moore, and an even better catch by tight end Tommy Gallarda. At 1:11 mark of the first quarter, it was already 17-0 Boise State.

Fortunately for the Hokies, they had Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. The Tech offensive line didn’t block very well, and there weren’t a lot of open receivers downfield. Tech’s best offense on Monday night was Taylor’s improvisation skills, whether it be running with the football or buying time to complete a pass.

Taylor led Tech on their first scoring drive of the game on their next possession. He converted a big third and eight early in the drive with a nine yard scramble, and later hit Jarrett Boykin on a big 34 yard gain to the Boise State one. Two plays later, Ryan Williams broke into the endzone and the BSU lead was cut to 17-7 with 11:44 left in the second quarter.

Boise State’s next drive was again set up by a special teams miscue. Justin Myer’s kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving the Broncos great field position at their own 40. After a 28 yard pass play to Titus Young, they were already in field goal range. The Tech defense tightened up there, but another Boise State field goal, this time from 47 yards, made it 20-7 with 10:23 left in the game.

David Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tech 47, so Tyrod Taylor had a short field go work with. He hooked up with Marcus Davis for a 24 yard gain on third down, and later a Byron Hout personal foul gave the Hokies another first down. However, they failed to score a touchdown, and Chris Hazley had to come on for a 34 yard field goal attempt. Unfortunately for Tech, the kick went wide right, and the Hokies would go on to lose the game by three points.

The Tech defense played with great heart in the first half, keeping the Hokies in the game despite the play of special teams and the offensive line. They came up with a big play on Boise State’s next possession, with Eddie Whitley forcing a Doug Martin fumble. Lyndell Gibson came up with the football on the Boise State 39, and the Tech offense was in business.

It only took Tyrod Taylor five plays. On the fifth play, he scrambled to his right and found Ryan Williams wide open in the corner of the endzone for a 12 yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good, and the BSU lead was cut to 20-14. That remained the score at halftime.

The Tech defense came up with another big play in the third quarter to get the team back in the game. Kellen Moore was heavily pressured in the backfield, and stepped up in pocket to throw. His throwing arm made contact with left tackle Nate Potter, knocking the ball free. R-freshman defensive end J.R. Collins was there to fall on the ball, setting up the Tech offense at the Boise State 31.

This time it took seven plays, but the result was the same. Ryan Williams took a handoff and sped to the outside, where he went untouched into the endzone. The extra point gave the Hokies a 21-20 lead, a great comeback from a 17-0 deficit.

The lead didn’t last long. Boise State faced third and one from their own 29 on their next possession, and Bud Foster loaded up his defense with all the defenders in the box to stop the run. Unfortunately D.J. Harper broke through Bruce Taylor’s tackle attempt in the backfield, and then through Lyndell Gibson’s tackle five yards past the line of scrimmage. With so many defenders up around the line of scrimmage, there was no one else to stop Harper, who ran 71 yards for a touchdown.

Andre Smith did block the ensuing extra point, so Boise State led 26-21 with 5:38 left in the third quarter.

The Hokies finally got some special teams luck on their next drive. Chris Hazley missed a 51 yard field goal attempt, but Boise State was flagged for running into the kicker. That gave Tech a 4th and 5 from the BSU 28 rather than a 4th and 10, and Frank Beamer elected to go for it.

The Hokies didn’t just go for the first down, they went for it all. Tyrod Taylor found Jarrett Boykin matched up in single coverage, and Boykin came down with the catch, brushed off the tackle by the smaller defensive back, and went in for a 28 yard touchdown. The Hokies went for a two-point conversion to try to increase their lead to three points, but failed. However, they did hold a 27-26 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

Boise State drove for a field goal attempt on their next drive, however the kick was missed because of poor timing. It was a bad snap, with the ball rolling back to the holder, which resulted in the missed kick. It seemed Virginia Tech’s special teams fortunes were turning.

The Tech offense had no trouble marching down the field on their next drive on the arm and legs of Tyrod Taylor. He completed two big passes to Jarrett Boykin on the drive, and also had a big scramble for 11 yards. The drive eventually bogged down, but Chris Hazley was able to boot a 34 yard field goal to put the Hokies up 30-26 with 7:28 left in the game. At that point, Tech had outscored the Broncos 30-9 since the end of the first quarter.

Tech forced Boise State to punt on their next possession, and the Hokie offense managed to take 3:27 off the clock on their next drive before punting the ball away. That’s when things began to take a turn for the worse for Virginia Tech.

Boise State was flagged for a block in the back on the punt return, which would have forced the Broncos to begin their drive from their own 19 with no timeouts remaining. However, another official came in and overturned the ruling, and Boise State was able to start their drive from their own 44 with 1:47 left in the game.

Kellen Moore completed three passes on a row, but the third one was the backbreaker. He hit Austin Pettis for a 13 yard gain to the Tech 26, and Bruce Taylor was flagged for a late hit that placed the ball at the Tech 13. Most neutral observers would agree that it was a poor call.

Two plays later, Moore found Austin Pettis for the game-winning touchdown with 1:09 remaining.

Tech had one last chance trailing 33-30, but couldn’t manage to pick up a first down. Boise State came on and ran out the clock, ending the game.

The Hokies will return to action this Saturday in Lane Stadium when they host James Madison at 1:30pm. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.com.


STATISTICS

                          VT        BSU
                         ----       ----
First downs               21          18
Rushed-yards          44-128      24-168
Passing yards            186         215
Sacked-yards lost       3-12         1-9
Return yards             151         148
Passes               15-22-0     23-38-0
Punts                 4-33.8      3-34.3
Fumbles-lost             2-1         2-2
Penalties-yards         7-55      11-105
Time of possession     34:20       25:40
Att: 86,587

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 

RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 16-73, Williams 20-40,
Evans 4-16, Wilson 1-2, TEAM 1-0, Oglesby 1-0, Coale 1-(-3).
BSU, Martin 12-83, Harper 4-80, Avery 5-26, TEAM< 1-(-2),
Moore 2-(-19).

PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 15-22-186-0.
BSU, Moore 23-38-215-0.

RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Boykin 6-102, Roberts 4-27,
Williams 2-18, Davis 1-24, Wilson 1-8, Coale 1-7.
BSU, Young 6-80, Pettis 6-73, Shoemaker 3-20, Harper 2-7,
Gallarda 2-4,Linehan 1-11, Efaw 1-10, Murroughs 1-5, Martin 1-5.
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